Maruti 800 – India’s Own People’s Car

After 37 years of its advent, let’s take a look down the memory lane, how India’s very own People’s Car – Maruti 800 came into existence.

During times when people of India couldn’t think beyond Fiat’s “Padmini” and Hindustan Motors “Ambassador”, Maruti 800 gave an affordable option to all Indians. Launched in 14th December 1983, Maruti 800 was produced as a joint venture between Maruti Udyog Limited and Suzuki Motor Corporation. Famously termed as India’s People’s Car, Maruti 800 was launched at a cost of Rs. 50,000. It had been the longest (30 years) produced car in India after Hindustan Motors Ambassador. Being a car in Entry Level Segment, Maruti 800 became first car of million households right from its launch in 1983 to 2013. As per the records available Maruti Suzuki is the highest sold car till date in India with 2.88 Million units, out of which 2.66 Million were sold in domestic market only.

Maruti 800 had always been a flagship brand of Maruti Suzuki in India and had been an unbeatable leader in the automobile Industry from its launch in 1983 till 2003. It always had been the first preference of entry level car buyers till 2003. In March 2003 Maruti 800 sold 20,687 units and surpassed its previous record of highest sales in a month, which was set in August 1999.

Some changes in the body of Maruti 800 were made in 1986, although most of the things remained the same. In 2005, a version of Maruti 800 with Euro III compliance was launched. However, an LPG emission model was launched in 2008. By 2009, sales of Maruti 800 dropped by 20% immediately after the launch of TATA Nano. But, still there was ongoing demand for Maruti 800 in market.

Although demand was still there, Maruti Suzuki India Limited had to decide fate of Maruti 800 as the new compliance regulations needed enhanced Euro IV version which was environment friendly. In April 2010 MSIL decided to phase out Maruti 800 and stopped selling in 13 major cities with four metros – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and 9 other cities including – Surat, Ahmedabad, Agra, Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad, Kanpur, where Euro IV compliance was necessary. However, Maruti 800 kept selling in other cities where Bharat Stage III Emission norms were in place.

In 2013, Maruti Suzuki India Limited stopped production of Maruti 800 due to Euro IV emission norms as the manufacturers were not keen to launch Euro IV compliant version.

Television Commercials

Maruti 800 is one car which has seen a generation growing with dream of purchasing it. What a clear communication, brilliant TV commercial shows a child who aspires and dreams to buy a Maruti 800 one day. After many years, he has grown up and has realized his dream of purchasing Maruti 800. Parents travelling through train justify middle class and still Maruti 800 remains affordable. Truly a People’s Car with emotions attached to it.

Maruti 800 with its image of a small family car has given a clear communication here to viewers about the affordability via financing options available to buy your first car and that too on EMI as low as 2599/-, so How’s that?

The TV commercial clearly focus on the mind set of middle class first time buyers who think three basic things before buying a car – First Affordability, Secondly Performance and finally maintenance. With a daughter speaking in this advertisement gives rather a simple and easy communication to viewers. The launch of LPG model with existing petrol model is also beautifully phrased with Maruti 800 Duo. Maruti 800 has again well stood with its image of a small family car with this lovely advertisement.

The article was originally published on 1st June 2016

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